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Officials: 123 inmates, 8 staff now positive for COVID-19 in Twin Falls jail
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Officials: 123 inmates, 8 staff now positive for COVID-19 in Twin Falls jail

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Coronavirus outbreak in Twin Falls County Jail

Sheriff Tom Carter holds a press conference to announce a coronavirus outbreak in the county jail Thursday at the Twin Falls County Courthouse in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS — More than 100 people at Twin Falls County Jail have now tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Tuesday.

Twin Falls County Sheriff spokeswoman Lori Stewart told the Times-News that 123 inmates and eight jail staff tested positive for the virus. Of those, three inmates have shown symptoms.

Tests were ordered for all inmates and staff after the first positive case was found. The results from about 200 of the tests have been returned so far, and jail officials are still waiting on 100 more. Those who test negative will be retested in a week.

Stewart said inmates with symptoms are being held in isolation away from the rest of the jail population. She said they are waiting for more results before moving around those without symptoms. All jail staff are wearing masks and they are available for inmates. Everyone at the facility is being monitored for symptoms, including daily temperature checks.

Stewart said officers are still arresting people, but the outbreak is being considered when deciding if someone needs to go to jail. New detainees are held and monitored until staff figures out how to safely introduce them into the rest of the population, she said.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office announced 37 inmates at the jail were positive for COVID-19 a week after the first confirmed case. Officials said they were unsure how the virus entered the facility.

The jail is meant for 194 people but usually houses between 260 and 280, with those overcapacity sleeping on the ground. Voters rejected a bond in November to expand the jail.

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